Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My response to "The Weal - Holding on to that Extra layer"

My response to "The Weal - Holding on to that Extra layer" - I tried to post as a comment, I don't know if it will go through moderation, so here it is.

Interesting how the choice of words denotes bias. The author fails to spell intactivism correctly. He spells "inactivist" not "intact", and he calls it a "group". It's not a group, it's a current of thought, a movement. There are several intactivist organizations and thousands of non-affiliated individuals. According to the author, the "inactivists" (sic) "declare", while the pro-circumcision brigade "explains". These words are carefully selected to express to sway the opinion.

Circumcision does not "prevent" HIV, no organization has said that. They say that it "reduces the risk" (, which is different, but even that statement has met criticism (When bad science kills, or how to spread AIDS) and is often misunderstood (most people ignore the fact that any reduction would be only for transmission from a female to a male, and that it wouldn't protect females from transmission by a male or males who have sex with males).

The mentioned health care costs come from a simulation by Aaron Tobian, who used data from Africa and extrapolated to the situation of the United States, rather than comparing to a more equivalent society such as Europe.

Dr. Weiss says that Langerhans cells are target for HIV, however a 2007 study by de Witte et al (Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells.), which most pro-circumcision researchers seem to ignore, found that Langerin is a naturall barrier to HIV-1 infection. And while Zimbabwe discusses making child circumcision compulsory (Infant circumcision could soon be compulsory ), people in Zimbabwe are starting to wonder if they were fooled by the circumcision researchers in light of recent reports that new cases of HIV are more prevalent among circumcised men (Were we fooled? ).

Some European medical organizations are preparing a statement to be presented next year as a rebuttal of the AAP's statement. Even more, the Royal Dutch Medical Association presented a viewpoint in 2010 which calls to discourage non-therapeutic circumcision of minors for its dubious benefits and the real possibility of physical and psychological damage (Royal Dutch Medical Association).

Back in the late XIX and early XX century, when "medical" circumcision started in the United States (as a way to "cure masturbation"), there were already doctors debating and opposing this "obsession". This debate has not finished, but it's time we recognize that children have the right to grow up with their whole body, and that they shouldn't be subjected to an amputation in lack of a condition that represents an immediate threat to their well-being, until they can provide their own, autonomous, informed consent.

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